General MBTA Topics (Multi Modal, Budget, MassDOT)

Arlington

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<takes perverse pleasure in seeing Melrose jolted from its complacency>
How's the town coming on finding a place to rebuild the bridge over the Lynn Fells Pkwy?
They’ve begun a whole package of bridge rebuilds this spring, including over the Lynn Fells Pkwy. In Melrose they’ve cut some big trees and placed Jersey barriers to narrow the road and set up abutment work. Did they negotiate a place to build & stage the replacement bridge?
 

clam

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Have trip times decreased since the latest service cut? It feels like the Orange Line has been cruising along and I'm getting in a lot faster than normal
 

stefal

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I don't have data, but intuition tells me that because there are less trains running on the lines, there are less holdups/delays at stations that have a domino effect across the line, and even if there are, there's more space between them for the differences between each set to be made up almost autonomously and not through 'holds' at stations or at certain signals.

Still doesn't make much sense to me to put the service cuts in place when more people are starting to return back to work, the weather's getting nicer/leisure riders are returning, and a sliver of normalcy is somewhat in sight. With the latest stimulus package, the MBTA should be crystal clear where the money they're getting is going.
 

jklo

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Still doesn't make much sense to me to put the service cuts in place when more people are starting to return back to work, the weather's getting nicer/leisure riders are returning, and a sliver of normalcy is somewhat in sight. With the latest stimulus package, the MBTA should be crystal clear where the money they're getting is going.
I am still under the impression that the money they are getting is to cover for last year (and so far this year's) losses. Ridership is still going to be low during the summer I think.

Did they say how quickly they could ramp back up subway and/or bus once ridership really improves?
 

George_Apley

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I am still under the impression that the money they are getting is to cover for last year (and so far this year's) losses. Ridership is still going to be low during the summer I think.

Did they say how quickly they could ramp back up subway and/or bus once ridership really improves?
They're busy pretending that low-riderships will be permanent. Baker wants to cripple the T.
 

shmessy

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They're busy pretending that low-riderships will be permanent. Baker wants to cripple the T.
I don't get it. What would be his motivation for wanting to cripple public transit and weakening Massachusett's competitive position in the 21st century economy?

It's one thing to say "He is crippling the T". It's a far different thing to say "He WANTS to cripple the T". What's the end-game for that?
 

jklo

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They're busy pretending that low-riderships will be permanent. Baker wants to cripple the T.
But you're not going to get 100% either any time soon. They might be legitimately be thinking that the medium term upside is 80%, if you are talking subway. There's a helluva lot of people unemployed right now in MA if you include PUA, and you can't really blame the shutdown for that since most things are open. It's not a short term thing. Business travel is going to be muted for some time, they might think there might be people who will stay WFH (albeit less than the CR crowd)
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I don't get it. What would be his motivation for wanting to cripple public transit and weakening Massachusett's competitive position in the 21st century economy?

It's one thing to say "He is crippling the T". It's a far different thing to say "He WANTS to cripple the T". What's the end-game for that?
Moar privatization.

This is Pioneer Institute lizard-brain thinking. We don't have to know why thinktankland pushes dead-ender solutions like it does, but Baker is a creature of that world so his default resting state is/always has been parroting those talking points. He has to be PUSHED...consistently...to buck that diseased worldview with pragmatic action, lest he fall back into form.

This is...well...standard form.
 

shmessy

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Moar privatization.

This is Pioneer Institute lizard-brain thinking. We don't have to know why thinktankland pushes dead-ender solutions like it does, but Baker is a creature of that world so his default resting state is/always has been parroting those talking points. He has to be PUSHED...consistently...to buck that diseased worldview with pragmatic action, lest he fall back into form.

This is...well...standard form.
That's great, but IF he does not intend to dive headfirst into an empty concrete pool, exactly who are these private companies he has lined up?

If he has a well thought out plan, I have yet to see it.

It's beginning to sound a lot like the Trump "Healthcare Plan Alternative".
 

jass

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I was just looking at an article from June 2020 about NJ Transit resuming 100% service to "help people get back to work"

Meanwhile over at MBTA land....
 

KCasiglio

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From Commonwealth Magazine's The Codcast "Sneak peak of this year’s transportation debate" https://player.fm/1BGBDMu

I'm heated. Chairman Straus is either illiterate in the subject of his committee or speaks entirely in bad faith. I'm no advocate of fare free subways but the bus system idea seems to have merit and is worth a pilot. Straus seems to have no idea that people transfer off buses into subways or that there are operational costs associated with fare collection on buses.
 

George_Apley

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All the pressure from high-ranking #mapoli folks is sinking in. From the Globe.

The MBTA is backtracking on planned budget cuts in the face of criticism from the state’s congressional delegation over the agency’s decision to reduce service despite recently receiving more than $1 billion in federal pandemic relief.
In a letter to Representative Stephen Lynch, General Manager Steve Poftak said the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will “commit to increasing service levels as quickly as possible on the bus and subway.”
Lynch isn't the only member from the MA delegation to D.C. who has been roasting the state govt and T leaders. The Biden admin also has weighed in, saying that the intent of the financial aid is specifically to avoid service and job cuts.

“We are looking at ways to increase service levels on bus and rail as quickly as possible,” Poftak said Friday. “Our approach evolved a bit, [from] how do we address a long-term structural deficit to how do we utilize the resources to get back to a 100 percent level of service on bus and subway?”
That shoulda been your approach in the first place, bro.

Jarred Johnson, director of the advocacy group Transit Matters and a fierce critic of the service cuts, said he was encouraged by Poftak’s letter to Lynch, but noted it did not offer many specific details. Most crucial, he said, is ensuring no routes are eliminated.

“I think the devil’s going to be in the details. For a lot of advocates, this is what we’ve said the whole time: We’re amenable to conversations about service levels, but ending routes or not having services is a red line,” he said.
 

George_Apley

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Do you have a source on that part?
From the same article:
The Biden administration has said the federal funding was intended to prevent transit cuts and layoffs amid steep ridership and fare revenue losses during the pandemic. A provision in the Rescue Plan suggests agencies must demonstrate they are not laying off workers if they plan to use the funding for purposes other than running service or daily operations.
 

jklo

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From the same article:
Kind of makes the money useless since it doesn't really address the problem of what to do long term since the MBTA isn't getting 100% ridership any time soon. Going to have to do something if they backtrack - ask for more money from the State, raise fares, etc.
 

George_Apley

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Kind of makes the money useless since it doesn't really address the problem of what to do long term since the MBTA isn't getting 100% ridership any time soon. Going to have to do something if they backtrack - ask for more money from the State, raise fares, etc.
Not really. The law requires that the $ is earmarked only for daily operations *if* state agencies lay off workers. It's a provision to maintain the workforce.
 

KCasiglio

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Kind of makes the money useless since it doesn't really address the problem of what to do long term since the MBTA isn't getting 100% ridership any time soon. Going to have to do something if they backtrack - ask for more money from the State, raise fares, etc.
I don't think we're looking at as long a time table as many expect. They mention in the podcast I posted avove that highway traffic volume is already about where is was pre-pandemic. With mass vaccination, offices returning much (though not all, but disproportionately staff that would have been riders and not drivers) of their staff and increasing congestion do we really expect it to take past the end of the year for most riders to return?
 

jklo

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They mention in the podcast I posted avove that highway traffic volume is already about where is was pre-pandemic.

I just chose random days - 3/12/21 versus 2/28/20... Blue is 43% while Red/Green/Orange is around 24-28%. Silver is 14%. Doesn't mention CR but that's probably still single digits. From what I've looked at Google Maps from time to time, the traffic doesn't look anywhere near pre-virus conditions. The Southeast Expressway looked bad but it wasn't as bad as normal.

I think the upside for subway is 80% just from all the job cuts from employers (ironically enough, since I guess the funding was really meant to be a jobs program and the bailout that the MBTA wanted).
 

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